February 19, 2010.
The Righs, (pronounced “RIGZ,”) have returned to confound those who would dare to describe them, with Roses, the band’s second full-length release, (“full-length” and then some, actually, with over seventy minutes of music and 18 tracks!) since 2008’s eclectic “The Rivers Run Deep.”
This time around, the Oklahoma-based Righs continue to write their own rules and then, (based on the amount of departure from the norm included on this release,) promptly set out into breaking them.
In fact, The Righs are so set apart from other bands in the Celtic Folk Punk realm that a point of reference is not readily available. Even the term “Celtic” may not necessarily apply in same ways it does in other bands of the genre. On Roses, it could describe some of the instrumentation, with the inclusion of the fiddle, and mandolin, but that is about all. The band seems fairly entrenched in a direction of its own, and possessive of its own compass.
The CD itself doesn’t have a weak moment on it (impressive considering the amount of material!) but does have a few tracks that stand out. And So It Goes is an immediately accessible song that grabs the listener immediately and doesn’t let go for an instant. It also features guest vocalist, Alicia Williams, a formidable set of pipes in her own right, sharing lead vocals duties.
Another track worthy of special mention is Two Cents, a song with enough mood and atmosphere to blur the line between music and horror movie, with vocalist Omid Nowrouzi twisting his voice into a banshee-esque wail, (that would make Marilyn Manson sleep with the lights on!) and the pervasive “nervous energy”-meandering of the over-caffeinated mandolin, providing tangible chills.
But it is The Man with Nickel-Plating Makes All the Rules, that is possibly my favorite track on Roses. The song has a manic quality that is almost overwhelming at its start, but for some reason seems to best encapsulate The Righs sound for me.
As with their debut, The Righs are able to pull off a rough and ragged finish on some well written, well arranged and generally polished songs, giving the CD a close approximation to what the band’s live performances must be like.
I am not sure if it was an intentional attempt to carve out an identity, or to start a whole new style, but the The Righs have most definitely created a sound all their own with Roses, albeit one that is almost impossible to accurately describe.
Highly recommended for repeated listenings.
Review by Christopher P. Toler, THE Blathering Gommel.